Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Visitor

So there I was, all warm and cozy watching tv from my couch late one night last week. When all of a sudden I realized my car was parked on the wrong side of the street during a Snow Emergency.

For those not from Minneapolis, we have spent much of this winter dealing with snow falls. When the snow reaches a certain point, the city calls a "snow emergency" and we being a complicated three day process of moving cars from one side of the street to the other. Woe to the person caught with a car on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time. It usually means a lengthy bus trip to the other side of town and then shelling out massive amounts of cash to get your car out of the impound.

Back to the story. So, panic filled my heart there on the couch as I realized my car was already 15 minutes into wrong side parking. I raced to my coat and mittens, threw them on over my sweats and ran to my car.  Luck was with me as it was still in it's spot and I was able to move it over to the correct side of the street undetected.

I was walking back up my front sidewalk in the dark thinking about how I had tempted fate, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye as I walked up my front steps. I stopped and looked at in the dark. It was sitting very still and looking back at me.

At first I thought it was a dog, but it didn't move when I took the next step up.  Then for a second I thought it was a raccoon, but realized that it didn't have the little bandit eye markings.  It was also far too still for a raccoon. I got within 4 feet of it and it sat there looking at me and then very slowly labored down the side of my step and slowly walked away towards my back yard.  I ran inside my house (ever the diligent blogger) and got my camera.

You have to look closely to see it. It was fairly large, had a pointy nose and a long rat-like tail.

More than a little freaked out when I got inside I called my dad, who has much experience with all things wild, and described it to him.  It was a possum.

Now we don't generally have possums in Minnesota. So, this identification was a bit surprising.  I asked my dad if possums were usually so slow in moving.  He said no, but the little guy was probably was not dealing with the cold well.

So, now I have been watching and worrying about my possum and how he is doing in this cold.


Freda said...

Possums are indeed slow moving relative to, say squirrels. Raccoons are slow moving, too. I see them around my home from time to time.

Possums aren't unheard of in residential areas, either.

BTW, I love your blog, and have been following for years.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Hale neighborhood in Mpls. This past summer driving down a street by my house a possum crossed the road in front of my car!! I too thought, huh (??) in Minnesota but it was definitely a possum…!!?? Also love your blog and often go to it for reference when I run into an issue at my house. :)

Alex Dent said...

They're fairly common here in Michigan, so I wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota also had them. I understand that if they're upset they can be quite nasty, making a squealing kind of noise, and that they have very sharp teeth and claws.

StuccoHouse said...

Freda - This little guy was moving koala slow. It was clear that either he was sick or really cold. I live not far from an area with a lot of nature, so I suspect he worked his way up from there. Thanks for the kind words on my blog - I love hearing from long time readers!

Hale neighbor - Maybe it was the same little guy or at least a relative. Oh, you are in deep trouble if you use my blog for a resource for your own house :) I only sometimes know what I'm doing.

Alex - My dad said the same thing about them being mean and when I Googled photos of a possum they all showed them with teeth bared. This little guy was probably too cold to bother. Come Spring he may not be so nice to me.

I have been telling the story of my possum encounter to friends and more than one of them has mentioned that the whole thing is funny because I say "played possum" more than your average person evidently. I have been told it is a "go to" phrase of mine. Funny the things you learn about yourself....

Anonymous said...

St. Paul reader here. Heard tonight on MPR that the past few (relatively) mild winters in MN have lead to a possum population explosion. This winter, with the severe cold, has been very hard on them as they have no fur on their ears and tails and many of them are ending up at the Wildlife Refuge in Roseville for treatment of frostbite!

StuccoHouse said...

St. Paul - Very interesting. I think my possum was rethinking his MN move.

Anonymous said...

I have a giant possum living in the corn crib. I think he hangs out there because he can score some vittles if the barn cat doesn't eat all his dinner. My dad was a state gamekeeper for many years and said possums are pretty slow and stupid, not much of a threat. And yes, they will play possum if cornered. One of the crazies things I've seen in a while. I do love his footprints in the snow. Kind of like an alien. Also North America's only marsupial.


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